Germaine Tailleferre


Classical Academy | Composers

French composer Germaine Tailleferre was the only female belonging to the group of French composers known as Les Six. All working in the Parisian bohemian district of Montparnasse, the music produced by the group reacted against the style of Richard Wagner. Les Six was made up of Mihaud, Auric, Durey, Honegger, Poulenc and, of course, Tailleferre. Along with Jean Cocteau the group began to frequent a bar called "La gaya" that they soon renamed The Ox on the Roof, where they would play tunes and share ideas.

 

Tailleferre spent a lot of time with Maurice Ravel, who encouraged her to enter the Prix de Rome. From her first Piano Concerto to the Harp Concertino and several ballets, she wrote much of her important music in the 1920s, a productive period that nonetheless saw her marriage to, and subsequent divorce, from Ralph Barton, an American caricaturist. The 1930s proved even more fruitful, as she expanded her repertoire to include a Violin Concerto and several operas. Following her uprooting during the war, she continued to composer both orchestral and chamber music, as well as an impressive number of film and television scores.

 

A true Frenchwoman at heart, Tailleferre's music reflects a love of Paris and a sensitivity that echoes through her beautiful works for piano. From the large ballets and operas of her early career, to the small, intimate piano compositions of the latter decades of her life, her music is always touching and beautifully emotive. This album features recordings of three delightful works for piano by Tailleferre, as well as music by her good friend Ravel and fellow members of Les Six.